Remember when badges on BMWs used to mean something? You were able to figure out the engine’s displacement right away by simply looking at the combination of digits at the back. Those days are long gone, and in the case of MINI, the Oxford-based marque is moving away from what the company’s name stands for.

The new Countryman is far from being a mini vehicle as the latest spy video shows the crossover will be a fully fledged compact car. It looks quite boxy and seems to have dropped the traditional clamshell hood for a traditional setup shared with BMWs. While a fully electric version has been confirmed, this isn’t it. Quad exhausts suggest we’re dealing with the hotter John Cooper Works version, which is likely twinned with the upcoming X1 M35i.

2023 Mini Countryman spy photo 1 830x830
Spy photo instagram.com/wilcoblok

Just how big is it going to be? Well, reports state the third-generation Countryman will be almost 4.5 meters (177 inches) long or roughly the same as an Audi Q3. That seems plausible judging by the generous greenhouse and the fairly long rear doors with their new handles that no longer stick out. It’s a change not just for the sake of design, but also to improve airflow to boost efficiency, especially in the case of the EV variant to unlock extra miles of range.

With this seemingly being the Countryman JCW, we need to talk about the engine. It could be the same turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline unit found in the M135i, X2 M35i, and M235i Gran Coupe, so look for about 300 horsepower sent to both axles via an automatic transmission. Since we mentioned the hot hatchback, the 1 Series M Performance model will also transition to four exhaust tips with next year’s LCI.

MINI recently reiterated it will become a purely electric brand in the early 2030s, which effectively means this will be the last Countryman to have combustion engines. We’ve heard today’s plug-in hybrid variant will be dropped and the platform that will underpin the compact crossover is going to be the BMW Group’s FAAR. The remaining conventional powertrains are going to receive mild-hybrid tech and production will be brought in-house by moving assembly from VDL Nedcar’s plant in The Netherlands to BMW’s Leipzig factory in Germany.

By making the new Countryman bigger, MINI will create an opening in its lineup to launch a small electric crossover. A concept to preview the new EV will be unveiled late this month.

Source: Motor.TV / YouTube